We Will Not Rest: Open Letter to UBS
Friday, three organizers with Hands Off Appalachia! met with officials at UBS AG to demand that UBS stop the funding of mountaintop removal (MTR). While obtaining a meeting with these officials was a critical win for our campaign, the result was far from a victory. HOA demanded that UBS release a statement committing the wealth management company to ending their funding of mountaintop removal. UBS officials responded by pointing to their existing inadequate policy in regards to MTR. Since that policy went into effect in 2010, UBS has continued to finance some of the largest perpetrators of MTR, such as Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal, and Patriot Coal.
The Hands Off Appalachia Campaign has spent two years engaging with UBS about their funding of the destruction of Appalachian through this extreme form of strip mining. Starting in Knoxville, TN, the HOA campaign quickly established a regional, and national, presence with allies and actions across the country. HOA has organized dozens of actions and protests at local UBS offices all over Appalachia and the Southeast.
This summer, HOA escalated their campaign against UBS when three organizers locked down at the Knoxville UBS branch, the point of inception for the campaign. This action was the thirty third time in sixteen months that campaign organizers had visited that office. On the heels of that action followed a blockade at UBS’ North American Headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut. There, four organizers with Hands Off Appalachia and Capitalism vs. the Climate, a climate justice direct action group based in Connecticut, took a stand against UBS in solidarity with communities in Appalachia. This action launched the northeast leg of our campaign against UBS.
Last week, dozens of organizers converged in rural Eastern Connecticut for Hands Off Appalachia’s Fall Action Camp. Residents of Appalachia and Connecticut and allies from around the region trained in campaign strategy and nonviolent civil disobedience. This camp is just the beginning of sustained resistance in Connecticut to UBS’s destructive policies.
To executives at UBS, the devastation of strip-mining might just be another set of numbers on one more piece of paper. To the people of Appalachia, it is a matter of life and death. Today, we are headed once again to Stamford to tell UBS that no one is collateral damage to their profits. Hands Off Appalachia will not rest until UBS stops enabling the destruction of Appalachia and its people and severs their relationship with coal companies that engage in mountaintop removal.
Hands Off Appalachia